Aaron Widmar
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12 Easy Ways to Allergy-Proof Your Car!

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Do your allergies seem to get worse when you’re in the car? We have 12 solutions!
Photo: William Brawley via CC

People spend a surprising amount of time every year in their cars. From daily commutes to vacation trips to visiting relatives, the time you spend in your car adds up quickly. According to a 2007 Harvard Health Watch study, the average person spends 101 minutes a day in the car–which quickly adds up to 25 days each year!

If you suffer from allergies, or live with someone who does, you probably spend a lot of time cleaning your home for triggers and irritants. But what about your car?

Cleaning your vehicle to make it allergy-friendly is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply follow the 12 steps below to allergy-proof your car!

Related: Automakers with the top EPA fuel efficiency

Allergy-Proof Your Car: Clean

  • You already know how dirty car seats can get, so clean up any spills or messes which occur inside your car as soon as you can to prevent mold from developing. Do a regular check for anything that may have gotten wedged under the seats or between the cushions which could be festering. Never keep trash inside your vehicle.
  • Vacuum your car frequently to remove dust mites and any materials that foster them. Spray everything down with upholstery disinfectant because of how much sweat and grime have no doubt collected. After cleaning your car, or buying a brand new one, let it air out for a couple hours (or days, if possible) so any fumes dissipate.
  • Regularly wipe the dashboard, steering wheel, control panel, and windows with a damp rag, where dust and grime tend to collect.
  • Rinse off the exterior of your car after you travel through an area rich in air-based pollen (such as rural country roads). It could easily be swept into the inside of the vehicle.

Allergy-Proof Your Car: Contain

  • Since outerwear is often how allergens are brought into vehicles, have everyone in the car remove their shoes, jackets, coats, gloves, etc if possible and store them in a contained, separate area. The trunk or an air-tight storage tub will do the job.
  • Keep your windows closed during high-allergy season and use the air conditioning to recirculate within the cabin.
  • If you absolutely must travel with pets, try to keep them in a carrying case that will contain the fur and dander.
  • Check that weather stripping is intact and every window/door shuts properly so allergens don’t leak into your automobile.

Allergy-Proof Your Car: Replace

  • Check and replace your air filter regularly.
  • Replace your cloth floor mats with plastic or rubber ones which don’t hold moisture and are easier to clean.
  • If possible, invest in leather seats rather than cloth fabric ones, which attract more dirt and are harder to clean.
  • Don’t use any air fresheners that have chemicals that could cause nasal irritation.

Related: Does driver’s ed actually reduce teen crash rates?

News Sources: How Stuff Works, & Precision Tune Auto Care

  • Aaron WidmarSenior Editor

    Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing... See more articles by Aaron.